Sunday, October 28, 2012

Shihyenshoes: House slippers and the culture of taking shoes off indoors

Shihyenshoes: House slippers and the culture of taking shoes off indoors

'Taking shoes off indoors is not uncommon. It is the culture in Japan, Korea and all across South East Asia. You know a culture is serious about removing shoes indoors when there’s a special area in a house or building just for taking shoes off. In Japan, it is called ‘genkan’ (玄関) while in South Korea this area is called ‘hyeon gwan’ (현관) It’s a small area just inside the front door where people take their shoes off before entering the house or building. There may also be a shoe box or rack in this area to put shoes in. In Japan, this box is called ‘geta bako’ (下駄箱) which literally translates as geta-box, because in the past it was the traditional Japanese geta that would have been placed inside the box.

Even now, I feel a kind of psychological barrier at the front door of any house, and if I wear my shoes inside a house, I have to mentally make myself cross that barrier. When my friends from other cultures put their feet up on their bed or other furniture while wearing outdoor shoes, I cringe internally. And picture them stepping on dog poo or something and then smearing it on the bedspread or sofa!'


Ian said...

When i'm on my xbox, I tend to relax on my bed and never bother to take off my shoes. I know they are clean and would swap them over if they had crap on them. Happily I rarely encounter any shoes off homes where I live in the uk. :)


Matthew Celestis said...

Thanks for visiting

Anonymous said...

You forgot to add that it is common in Russian culture, too. I live in Russia and everybody always remove their shoes at the door.

Matthew Celestis said...

Thanks for visiting. This is somebody else's article not mine.

I have mentioned the Russian custom of removing shoes quite a few times before.